Sempervivum 

(sem-per-vee' vum)

Common name: Hens-and-Chicks, Houseleeks

Family: Crassulaceae, Orpine

Height x width: 3-4" x 4-12"

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: rosettes ½"-4" across, leaves thick and fleshy and glabrous, ½-2" long, cuneate-obvate, 50-60 per rosette

Flowers: purple red on stems 6-15" above rosettes, summer

Hardiness: 3-8

Soil: well-drained, plants prefer poor, rocky or gravelly soil

Light: sun, tolerate part shade

Pests and Problems: rust, crown rot

Landscape habit, uses: rock garden, dry wall, edging, bedding in dry gardens, containers such as strawberry jars

Other interest: native to Europe; genus name from the Latin semper meaning forever and vivo meaning to live, refering to it seeming to live forever; it is often grown on tile roofs in Europe as superstition says that houseleek repels lightning and prevents fires; when flower stem dies in central "hen" rosette, open space is created for future "chick" rosettes

Other culture:

Propagation:division of outer rosettes from "mother" rosette, seed with 3 years to flower

Species:

arachnoideum (a-rack-noi' dee-um)--Cobweb Houseleek, covered with long hairs (cilia) from the leaf margins; forms hybrids with other species imparting hairy characteristic

x giuseppi (gue-sep' pee)--medium green tight heads on short stolons, small to medium size, tinged purple, hairy

marmoreum (mar-more' ee-um)--similar tectorum only 8" flower stem

montanum (mon-ta- num)--dark green, dull, very fleshy, finely hairy, 4" tall flower stem

tectorum (tec-tor' um)--parent of many hybrids, large and open rosettes, hairy flower stem to 12" tall, thick leaves with dark tips
 
 

Cultivars:

Of the over 1000 cultivars worldwide, the following are the most commonly found in U.S. commerce. Most are hybrids of tectorum with a couple exceptions noted.
 
Cultivar rosettes other
'Alpha' bluish green. large, open some cobwebbing
'Ashes of Roses' fuzzy gray, pink tint  
'Beta' blue green, red edges, tight  
'Blood Tip' sharp blood red tips  
'Brunneifolium' pinkish brown, compact marmoreum
'Cobweb' pale green, silvery web of hairs  
'Engles Rubrum' green, rose base, red in spring hairy edges
'Granada' pink and green, medium size  
'Imperial' pale green brushed rose  
'Laggeri':subsp. tomentosum   arachnoideum
'Oddity' bright green, rolled leaves, tight  
'Olivette' gray green tipped red, tight  
'Othello' red, large  
'Pilosella' green, medium size, semi-loose  
'Purple Beauty' green, deep purple tips, semi-open  
'Pyrenaceum' pink gray  
'Red Beauty' gray green, tipped red, open  
'Rubicundrum' green tipped red, small heads, tight marmoreum
'Rubrifolium' vivid red, tipped and edged green marmoreum
'Sanford's Hybrid' deep red, large  
'Silverine' pale green, red blended  
subsp. tomentosum pale blue green cobweb arachnoideum
'Twilight Blues' olive green, lavender tint, purple tips  
'Wolcott's Variety' silvery pink  
     


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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